Year 10 and 12 Product Design students traded their usual contemporary setting of St Bartholomew’s for the futuristic environment of the Mini factory in Cowley. We don’t mean that the factory is petite; we mean it is where designs are finally realised in the production of the various models of Mini; a classic British institution. (Although now owned by a German company!)
The students were welcomed by engineers with more than 100 years of design and manufacturing experience between them and were given an overview of the whole production process. Students were taken on a tour of the production factory, which looked like a Sci-Fi set, with robots outnumbering humans.
Students were also shown the assembly factory, which was reliant on good, old fashioned human dexterity, common sense and professionalism. Here the automation was outnumbered by real people. The students left the Mini factory in awe of what can be achieved with the use of machines. They are much wiser with regard to how important their role as ‘future designers’ is and how we all depend on designers to make our everyday ‘tools’ better suited to our ever changing lifestyles; incorporating modern designs with practicalities and durability whilst also being aware of costs, both financial and environmental.